View Full Version : Window in new shop

08-18-2001, 01:59 AM
Hi All

Very soon I will be starting to build a new home workshop.

The shop I have now, have one window place right in front of my workbench

Now I would like to ask all of you, if the best placing of a window is in front of the workbench, or if it is better to have the window on one side of the workbench

Here in Denmark the sun is low on the horizon right now, and I found the direct light is a problem

Mogens Kilde

08-18-2001, 02:01 AM
Put the window in front of the workbench and install blinds. The blinds will disfuse the direct sunlight.

03-07-2006, 12:08 PM
Sorry if I seems to pressing your all !, but it looks like my topics landed near the stonage, and I sure would like more input on my topic befor i start to build my new workshop

hope my own reply will put the topic in present age again

Mogens Kilde

03-07-2006, 12:20 PM
Your personal preference, I think. I'd probably have the windows to one side, so I could have shelves and other storage along the back of the workbench.

03-07-2006, 12:26 PM
I'd have to agree with SGW - I like having shelves on the back wall to the workbench.

I have a window at one end of my shop, and a couple in my home office. I find it easier to concentrate with the shades drawn - I get distracted too easily by action visible out the window. I open the shade (for light) sometimes when I work with my back to the window.

Maybe I was a cat in a previous life?

03-07-2006, 12:33 PM
I would go with skylites for natural lite, at many as you can put in there. The fewer windows in the walls the fewer people can peek in and see your shiney metal goodies. If that is not a concern they go at it as your wish.

Duct Taper
03-07-2006, 12:42 PM
The biggest problem is when the bright sunlight shines directly on your project or machine... but only on part of it. You can't see what you are doing. I moved my machines to the windowless part of the shop just because of this. I put up lights that give an even source of light.

Having a wall behind the bench is nice for pegboard, but even nicer is a 6" shelf placed about a foot above the bench working surface to put your hand tools on while you are working. It keeps them out of the way of the project and they are easy to find and grab when you need them.

cam m
03-07-2006, 01:09 PM
How is your shop going to be located? How is it laid out inside? Where is the proposed window? I have windows on the east, south, and north sides of my shop and I am very happy with the layout. I have a grinder and a press in front of the south windows, a drawing board below the east window, and my lathe sits directly under the north window. The diffused natural light of the north window is great for the lathe. I rarely use the drawing table early in the morning because of my shop schedule so the direct sun hasn't been an issue. My property is way out in the countryside, so I don't have blinds and probably never will.
Editted P.S. Because I live on a rural property, traffic outside the windows is rarely a problem.

[This message has been edited by cam m (edited 03-07-2006).]

03-07-2006, 01:35 PM
I am a firm believer in natural light. Any shop I design has a maximum of light I can allow in as modified by other needs in the shop. That said 'direct' sunlight, in your eyes from an angle or reflecting off your work is cause of significant strain and work shadows interfering with what you perceive especially finish work. In your current shop hang a thin or sheer sheet of fabric to diffuse the direct rays. A good compromise might be a narrow horizontal window higher up the wall and a bright reflective surface to diffuse the light. Another idea might be placing a tall narrow window to one or both sides of the work area or between machines and again a diffuser/reflector surface to even the light.
Skylights are an option but have concerns with weather covering them leaking etc. or depending on sun angle, heat and direct sun concerns. Have you considered a 'saw tooth' design with a row of south exposure windows along the ridgeline? At higher latitudes Southern exposure maximizes heat and light gain in cold seasons and minimizes heat gain in summer, etc... Don't forget too... more electrical outlets than you need, still won't be enough.
Give a shout if this or other ideas may help.
Will A.

03-07-2006, 01:38 PM
I put one in the middle of the workbench. I mounted the vise in the middle of the workbench. Workbench is 20 feet long. Visibility is great. But when grinding or when things "fly" out of the vise its directly into the window. I put a piece of plexiglass infront of the window. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

03-07-2006, 03:20 PM
Natural light is free and comes in volumes that you just about cannot reproduce comfortably, electrically.

I built my shop building about 2 years ago now. Went with 4 tall windows. It does affect machinery and bench placement, but I have no regrets having put (4) 30x54" windows in my 30'x40' shop.

If it wouldn't have looked so funny, I would have mounted them high. I have 14' high walls and plenty of space to have done that. My building is very well insulated and with the solar heating from the windows, it never got below freezing last winter, before I had heat installed. Cheap mini-blinds help keep sun out in the summer. They can do the same for keeping low angle sun out of your eyes.

Think a bit about placement and I am sure you can come up with something that works but is not a hinderance. I created a complete layout before building...and still found that I changed some things afteward. Planning is good, but the best plans still get changed.

03-07-2006, 03:40 PM
Thanks to all, it is really nice of you to give me that much feedback.

I think I have learned 2 things

1 - The strain of the eye when sunlight is reflecting directly from the workpiece is a problem. ( I feel this problem today also)

2 - The possibility of placing tools and drawers and the like just in front of the workbench, must be very practically, I never thought of this before now

After your feedback, I now think I will put the window on the south wall, and place the workbench on the north wall, this way I'll get the sunlight from behind (indirectly) and can put my tools on the wall right in front of the workbench

Thank you again !

Mogens Kilde

03-07-2006, 04:07 PM
I usually face the window towards the house with the best looking neighbor lady...

Tin Falcon
03-07-2006, 04:18 PM
I have heard that artists prefer light from a northern window because it is defused.

03-07-2006, 05:52 PM
I have no windows in the shop, it invites thieves,and lets the warm air out.


The tame Wolf !

cam m
03-07-2006, 06:15 PM
That's what you get living in one of THOSE neighborhoods.

Seriously, I have more $ worth of stuff laying around outside with the keys in it than I have locked up in my shop. I just couldn't afford to build enough secured storage for car trailer, holiday trailer, 2 Ag tractors, and 2 lawn tractors.... I do have a BIG dog. He's a push over , but most don't seem to think so.

[This message has been edited by cam m (edited 03-07-2006).]

03-07-2006, 06:38 PM
I live in the country,But I value My stuff.

The tame Wolf !

03-07-2006, 07:00 PM
If you put your back to the window, don't you always end up working in your own shadow?

I like my bench between two windows, with shelves and storage on the wall behind it. My present bench is a "U" with a window at end and at the middle, and a door at the other. The windows sills are about 66 inches from the floor, and higher from the ground outside. That way I can place my machinist and "rally" chests on the bench with open lids and not block the light.

One day I will have a digi cam and be smart enough to ask my daughter how to use it.

Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."

03-07-2006, 07:04 PM
wolf you are right you can trust a lock. but can you trust that new guy that moved in down the road?

03-08-2006, 09:39 AM
spelling corrected and reposted.

[This message has been edited by ulav8r (edited 03-08-2006).]

03-08-2006, 10:01 AM
The south window and north bench is a good arrangement to take advantage of a heliostat like Evan's. Aim it at the ceiling and wall just above the workbench.

Be sure to leave access to the window so it can be used as an emergency exit incase of a fire blocking access to the doors.

Spin Doctor
03-08-2006, 02:02 PM
For natural light Sol-o-Tubes seem a ggod bet. As to windows nobody mentioned Glass Block. You can them made up un the prefab panels instead of regular windows. They diffuse the light quite well and nobody can see through them.

03-09-2006, 12:48 PM
Thanks again for all the input

Because of the astetic the window in my new shop, has to be in the south wall.

As it is a new shop I can how ever try different positions of the work bench and installation of my lathe

A skylight I wouldn't dare because of eventually sealing problems

But all in all - thanks for a lot of response

Mogens Kilde